Republican gubernatorial candidates take aim at Georgia’s income tax

An early dividing line in the governor’s race was drawn at Cagle’s Farm last week, when three of the four leading GOP candidates for the job differed sharply over tax policy.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, after joking he had no part in the choice of venue, noted both Tennessee and Florida had no income tax and said he is “very supportive of a strategy to get us off a state income tax and more to a consumption-based tax.”

Next up was state Sen. Hunter Hill, who said eliminating the state income tax was his top fiscal policy. State Sen. Michael Wlliams echoed Hill – and took a shot at Cagle, blaming the lieutenant governor for failing to slash taxes deeper.

“We have the money to eliminate the state income tax. We just don’t have the political willpower to do it.”

(It’s worth noting that legislative leaders were at odds with Gov. Nathan Deal earlier this year over more substantive changes to the tax code, including an effort to cut the state’s top income tax rate by 10 percent. Deal warned that “bad decisions” in flush economic times could hamstring the state, and the measure failed to reach his desk after some wrangling.)

Watch for yourself here:

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If you watched the Sunday news shows, you know that the White House stepped up demands for revived congressional efforts on health care, and suggested senators cancel their entire summer break, if needed, to pass legislation after last week’s collapse. From the Associated Press:

Aides said President Donald Trump is prepared in the coming days to end required payments to insurers under the Affordable Care Act as part of a bid to let “Obamacare implode” and force the Senate to act.

Elsewhere, Tom Price, the former Georgia congressman who is now secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, tried to make as little news as possible on Sunday morning. Again, from the Associated Press:

On Saturday Trump tweeted that if “a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”

 

Trump has only guaranteed required payments to insurance companies through July. The payments reduce deductibles and co-payments for consumers with modest incomes. Analysts have said that without the payments, more insurers might drop out of the system, limiting options for consumers and clearing the way for the insurers who stay to charge more for coverage.

 

Asked about the payments going forward, Health Secretary Tom Price said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that no decision has been made. He declined further comment, citing a lawsuit brought by House Republicans over whether the Affordable Care Act specifically included a congressional appropriation for the money, as required under the Constitution.

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Speaking of the Republican health care overhaul, you could say the Senate schedule is now a bit in flux after the effort’s collapse.

While Majority Leader Mitch McConnell picks up the pieces, he’s scheduled a vote to begin debate on a judicial nominee for the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit court, the federal court of appeals that has jurisdiction over Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

President Donald Trump tapped Birmingham, Ala.-based lawyer Kevin Newsom for the position back in May.

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As for Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, he thinks now’s the time for the two parties to work together to “deal with the issues that are making (health) insurance so expensive,” the Republican told The Marietta Daily Journal over the weekend.

Isakson backed all three of the major Obamacare repeal proposals that came across the Senate floor last week. So did his colleague David Perdue.

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As the weekend broke, Sally Yates, the Atlanta lawyer dismissed as acting U.S. attorney general in January, continued to step gingerly on the public square with an op-ed in the New York Times. In part:

The president is attempting to dismantle the rule of law, destroy the time-honored independence of the Justice Department, and undermine the career men and women who are devoted to seeking justice day in and day out, regardless of which political party is in power.

 

If we are not careful, when we wake up from the Trump presidency, our justice system may be broken beyond recognition.

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State Sen. David Shafer’s campaign for lieutenant governor picked up support over the weekend from former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr.

The onetime Libertarian presidential candidate said Shafer has a “proven track record of advancing conservative ideals,” citing the president pro tem’s zero-based budgeting law, support for gun rights and constitutional amendment capping the state income tax.

“I judge politicians based on their accomplishments, not their promises,” Barr said.

Barr’s endorsement comes a week after Texas U.S. senator and former GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz backed Shafer’s campaign. Barr was a vocal proponent of Cruz’s and traveled across the country on his behalf.

***

Our condolences to former U.S. Rep. John Linder, whose wife Lynne died over the weekend.

The two were married for 54 years – she was his campaign manager for 18 of his races – and he wrote in a touching tribute that she was a “vital ingredient” in everything he did in Washington and Georgia.

“Over 40 years in politics I made thousands of friends and many enemies,” wrote Linder. “She made only friends.”

Please read his tribute, which ends with these words:

John Steinbeck wrote: “It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”

 

Lynne’s brilliant light shone mostly to illuminate the good in every life she touched. The night is now dark. The stars and moon are gone. It will never be the same.

 

The very first prayer I ever said is now my last. “Now I lay her down to sleep. I pray thy Lord her soul to keep.”

 

Reader Comments 0

65 comments
Kisha KC Green
Kisha KC Green

Slash it and make up the money how, by cutting services? Who would vote for that? Oh, Republicans.

Brandon M Obear
Brandon M Obear

The state of Georgia is already on life-support as is it is so cutting the income tax rate is not a good idea

Amanda Ruf
Amanda Ruf

Voters better look at Kansas before electing this fiscally irresponsible candidate.

deceketix
deceketix

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Sylvia Shortt
Sylvia Shortt

Bad idea! Only works in states that are tourist destinations. You want good schools and colleges? Infrastructure? State parks? It will all disappear.

Lydia Hallmark
Lydia Hallmark

Cagle has had a long time to move on that but he hasn't.

Amy Parks
Amy Parks

He has my vote then. We pay waaaayyyyy too much taxes in ga.

Prince Phillips
Prince Phillips

Cagle will win the Governorship, not because of better ideas but that R in front of his name is powerful in this state and Democrats just don't get it.

James Clark
James Clark

Run on cannabis legalization then you may get my vote till then I'll vote for myself.

Peter Strals
Peter Strals

Why always run on cutting taxes? Are there things needing more tax support in Georgia, like education, infrastructure, or cyber security? Also, are we now running in a surplus and won't need to cut funding if the tax cut is passed? Or, might this be a back door way of defundin a program by claiming "lack of funds" after you have perpously cut taxes. Also, please don't try to sell me that the tax cut will stimulate the economy and increase revenue. The Kansas Governor tried that and had to cut programs to meet budget, and the legislature had to.pass a tax increase.

Brian Haulk
Brian Haulk

If they don't do it soon I will probably be buying my next house across the state line in TN.

Marilyn Hupp
Marilyn Hupp

I dont know what a consumption tax is but does that effect medicaid

Issac Reid
Issac Reid

Ridiculous...there is a lot of work needed in this state...i guess some people believe projects will get done without this money. I'm taxed more because I'm single but I know things need to be done.

Michael Joyce
Michael Joyce

thats it .. promise to cut taxes .. THE popular soundbite ... just when ga needs more work on roads / education / closing hospitals ... these guys are idiots and so are the people who keep voting them in ..

Donna Richards
Donna Richards

Thank you for destroying my peacefully tranquil abode with loud speakers and political gatherings at the new farm : (

Francene Hammett Taylor
Francene Hammett Taylor

Eliminating state income tax always plays well to the conservative base until you get a calculator out. While Florida and Tennessee don't have state income taxes, they offset that with other taxes that are much higher than we pay - gasoline tax is one example. Our neighbors tax far more goods and services than we do. I'd much rather keep a state income tax, which is much easier to monitor, than increase sales taxes on more goods/services which are much more difficult to monitor and tend to creep upwards far more easily. In addition, Our taxes support essential infrastructure and services and maintaining an acceptable level is doable when you can project a state budget with some level of certainty...which an income tax allows you to do. Moving toward more consumption based tax on more goods and services undermines the ability to project income, as people consume varying annual levels of the goods and services due to cost. This leaves funding levels for infrastructure and important services questionable year over year, making it much more difficult to buy new equipment, hire more staff, update old buildings, pay good salaries/benefits. I don't know about other citizens, but I don't want local law enforcement or EMTs or firefighters dealing with more funding uncertainly every single year.

Carol Thompson
Carol Thompson

Only because that's what they think the people in rural counties want to hear and that's their voter base.

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

Trump's beautiful plan that covers everyone for less money with better care is still a secret. Yet, he extorts Congress with a knife at the throats of those who receive ACA cost-sharing subsidies to pass any sort of repeal and replace at all. Anything that he can claim as a win. If he'd just bring forward his brilliant plan, wouldn't we all win?

Rob Danner
Rob Danner

How about eliminating ? Also eliminating the state estate tax?

Katherine White
Katherine White

Ga. Republican's can't do this and keep services as they are. The state gives billions of dollars in tax breaks to the film industry, the famous and to lure businesses to move here. They will say anything to get elected. Don't fall for it.

Elaine Daprano
Elaine Daprano

You're not going to get my vote by blabbing the old "cut taxes" routine. Do you think it's 1950 and voters are stupid? That attitude will make sure I campaign AGAINST you.

Joanne Ward Lutes
Joanne Ward Lutes

Look, I'm republican and am not unhappy with our taxes. I want our teachers, law enforcement officers and firemen/women well paid. As a matter of fact, they should repay teachers for the awful way they were treated after the crash, promises made and not kept.

Elaine Daprano
Elaine Daprano

Oh really? What's going to pay for roads, services, infrastructure, etc etc. Cut taxes? Google KANSAS!\U0001f620

Ellen Davidson
Ellen Davidson

Elaine Daprano The taxes I already pay, pays for those things. As I said Georgia has gotten so many off entitlements we should be headed in the right direction. I don't care about Kansas.

Elaine Daprano
Elaine Daprano

If you don't care about Kansas, don't try to emulate them. Wtf have "entitlements" got to do with state tax! Medicaid is provided by the Fed!

Elaine Daprano
Elaine Daprano

The taxes you KEEP paying KEEP paying for those things. Did ya think those roads are permanent?\U0001f604\U0001f604\U0001f604

Elaine Daprano
Elaine Daprano

You believe in smaller Federal oversight? Then cough it up, sister!\U0001f609

Marion Baker
Marion Baker

Flat Tax rate or Consumption Sales Tax ! The only truly Fair Way !

Jonathan Banes
Jonathan Banes

Georgia already has a fairly moderate personal income tax rate of 6.0% and by extension a corporate income tax rate of the same percentage: https://taxfoundation.org/state-corporate-income-tax-rates-brackets-2017/ https://taxfoundation.org/state-individual-income-tax-rates-brackets-2017/ There's little justification to cut further revenue or eliminate either one of these taxes altogether, especially on the pretext of present-day assumptions of economic growth, which is still dependent on the traditional boom and bust business cycle. Not to mention the fact that a consumption or sales tax-only method is extremely regressive and would put even more pressure on middle and low-income Georgians already pinched by the increased cost of living throughout the state but particularly in the Atlanta Metro area. If anything we need more state investment in transportation (mass transit especially), healthcare (Medicaid expansion is still a viable option), and more support for the state's technical colleges and state universities. Such investments would better serve the future of Georgia's economic growth than cutting taxes.

Ken Murphy
Ken Murphy

They are lying through their teeth, we need to elect libertarians and independents in their place, send the repukes to the same place we send the demorats.

Joeleejohnson
Joeleejohnson

Of Course They Are--'lying through their teeth'; They are politicians!

James Lorenzo
James Lorenzo

Good. A lot of states have cut out the income tax and are doing just fine.

A Ayodele Smith
A Ayodele Smith

Lol. Been to Kansas lately? They're doing horrible. Supply side economics is unoriginal and as much a failure today as when they came up with it decades ago.

James Lorenzo
James Lorenzo

Gotta have a plan when you get rid of one revenue form....

James Lorenzo
James Lorenzo

Alaska, Florida,Nevada, South Dakota, Texas,Washington and Wyoming.

A Ayodele Smith
A Ayodele Smith

I worked in state and local government for nearly 16 years and because of their imbalanced tax structure, they are overly reliant upon property taxes. Then, right before the housing bubble burst, Republicans--led by Marco Rubio--limited how much property tax local governments could collect. It severely damaged the state economy and sent many young professionals like myself running. The money has to come from somewhere to meet collective needs like infrastructure, education, health and safety. Before holding any of these states up as success stories, I suggest getting the real story from people who live and work there.

Bill Stockstill
Bill Stockstill

A Ayodele Smith yep. And the ones without them have significantly higher sales tax. I grew up in Florida, no income tax, crappy roads.